The McCain Global Leaders wants to bring about change in their respective countries.
By Lucky Thusi
August 1, 2022
It was an emotional yet encouraging tour for seven Africa and Middle East-based fellows from the McCain Institute’s McCain Global Leaders programme when they visited the country last week.
The Southern Courier met with them at the Apartheid Museum, Ormonde on July 28, accompanied by McCain Global Leadership senior programme manager, Scott Nemeth.
They are Zyh Akumawah (Cameroon), Reham Alsaidi (Pakistan), Wubrest F. Adamu (Ethiopia), Angeline Makore (Zimbabwe), Mohanad Anan (Iraq), Baccuds Roberts (Liberia) and Samah Mansar (Egypt).
They were in Johannesburg to meet with non-governmental organisation leaders and participate in Changemaker Tour modules based on the theme of providing peace and security through understanding and reconciliation.
Their tour included meeting with the staff from the US Embassy in Pretoria, visiting Soweto (Kliptown, Mandela House and Hector Peterson Museum), Constitutional Hill Human Rights Precinct and Apartheid Museum.
Nemeth said the trip to the country was impactful to him and the leaders. “The Apartheid Museum tour was emotional as it connects them to their countries. Some have gone through the same period as South Africa. Also, it hits home as we have for the longest time the problem of race in America. We can relate to what happened here,” he said.
Akumawah, a medical doctor from the organisation Easy Health said they work with communities, especially in rural areas where they promote ‘telemedicine’ (using mobile phones to connect and help the people) and improve the health system in her country.
“Our country has been in a conflict for over five years and we want to influence the change. We have separatist freedom fighters where the English-speaking Cameroonians feel marginalised by the French-speaking ones who are in majority. The people in the villages are suffering as a result.
“From these tours, we’ve been doing here I feel honoured and emotional. At the Constitutional Hill Human Rights Precinct I heard the words ‘We people of South Africa’ and ‘Ubuntu’ here at the Apartheid Museum. I know that the country is united. I also want this for my country – to speak with one voice. This country is like a big brother to us. We look up to it, as it has influenced a lot of change in the rest of Africa.
Adamu who is a human rights lawyer by profession, shared the same sentiments. “At The Constitutional Hill Human Rights Precinct I broke down and cried. The story was emotional and traumatic especially when I entered the prison room. I couldn’t sleep at night. And to think that the sacrifices were voluntary boggles my mind. I couldn’t finish the Soweto tour, it was overwhelming.
“With all this, I had mixed reactions of courage and honour. These freedom fighters could have just abandoned the struggle however they continued to fight. This is why I also have to ask myself what I will do for my people. In my profession I serve the people, that is why I chose this path,” noted Adamu.
Read the full article at the Alberton Record here.